December 13, 2015

A NOTE FROM FATHER TORQUATO
     Are you a joyful person?   Do your family and friends recognize you as being joyful in your everyday life?   While most of us have our challenges and burdens in this life, I hope there’s also a great deal of joy in our hearts thanks to our faith and the love and blessings shared with us by the Lord!
    Knowing the closeness and the care of God in our lives should be a source of divine and Christian joy for all of us and for each of us.  This joy will be a sure sign of our life in God and all that the Good News means to us and to all Christians!  Knowing that Jesus will also return to us one day should also increase our joy that the Lord will bring to us the glory that he promises!
    Even though there is still darkness and trouble and evil in our world, may all of us be filled with the joy that comes from the Lord’s presence with us.  May we rejoice in knowing God’s love for us, and may we  share our joy with all those around us this month and every day and month of our lives.  God bless!
                                                                —Father Jim Torquato

OUR NEW HOLY YEAR OF MERCY
    This past Tuesday, December 8, Pope Francis  officially inaugurated the Holy Year of Mercy during which all Catholic Christians are invited to celebrate the mercy and forgiveness of God that is at the heart of Jesus’ Gospel. 
    Please see the insert in the November 20 edition of the Pittsburgh Catholic for information about the Holy Year.  News about our diocesan and parish events for the Holy Year of Mercy will be shared in the bulletin during the weeks and months ahead.  May we all rejoice in the Lord’s Divine Mercy.  God bless!

TODAY’S OPENING OF THE CATHEDRAL HOLY DOOR FOR THE YEAR OF MERCY
    For nine centuries, Popes have called for a Holy Year as a sacred jubilee of our Catholic faith and life.   Now they are usually scheduled every 25 years, but a Pope can hold a Holy Year when he thinks it’s fitting.
    The Holy Doors for the Holy Year (usually set at the Basilicas of Rome) are destinations for Catholic pilgrims as they travel more deeply into the divine life of God.  Pope Francis has asked every bishop to have a local Holy Door at their own cathedral.  Bishop David Zubik will open our Holy Door this Sunday, December 13 at 2:30pm.  All are most welcome!

RETURNING YOUR GIFTS THIS WEEKEND FOR THE ADVENT GIVING TREE
         Please return all Giving Tree donations this weekend, December 12-13,  so that your gifts can be distributed to gift recipients this week.  Thank you for your Christmas generosity and your Catholic charity!

BEST ADVENT EVER WITH MATTHEW KELLY!
    Deepen your experience of Advent and Christmas!  Get “Best Advent Ever—Rediscover Mercy.”  Register for Year of Mercy at  the Dynamic Catholic website here.

OUR COMMITTEE MEMBERS VISITED HAITI
    The first week of December, both Dr. Maureen O’Brien, PhD, and Mr. John Cravotta of our parish’s Hope for Haiti Committee were in Haiti with members of the Mortel Family Charitable Foundation to visit the students and families helped by you, by our parish committee, and by the Mortel Foundation. 
    They visited the schools where Saint Scholastica Parish is currently sponsoring students.  These students study at the Good Samaritans Elementary School and the James Stine Schools.
    Our parish members will soon share with us their photos and impressions of the progress being made!
  
AT HOME IN THE CHURCH ALIVE!
    It’s our parish, and it’s our home—whether we’ve been parish members for a year or for a lifetime!  This is where we gather for the Eucharist and where we celebrate the sacraments and our faith together!  This is where we baptize our children and where we are reconciled  in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  
    In announcing the program “On Mission for the Church Alive!”, Bishop David Zubik  described our parishes as the heart of our evangelization efforts!  Grow our parishes and we grow the life of the whole Church.  Look around this month and see whom you can invite ’home’ to share in the life of Jesus and of his family!   
    To read more, visit www.OnMissionChurchAlive.org  OR  see the page 5  of the Pittsburgh Catholic  for more information.

RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND YOUTH MINISTRY NEWS

LOOKING AHEAD FOR RELIGIOUS ED / YM
    On Sunday, January 10, at 12 noon, all eighth grade students wishing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Spring must attend the next Mega Meeting with either a parent or your sponsor. 
    The next Youth Liturgy is scheduled for Saturday, January 2 at 5:00pm.  Please contact Mrs. Dillon to participate in the youth ensemble!
_______________________________________________

JOIN ONE OF OUR CHOIRS FOR THE WINTER!
    Music ministry is a wonderful way to share your time, talent, and faith with our parish community!  Now is the time to sign up and sing with either our 9:00 am Contemporary Ensemble  OR  our 11:00 am Saint Scholastica Schola this winter from January 12/13 to March 13.   Contact Sister Pat personally or sign up via our parish office or our parish web site.  Thanks!

OUR ADVENT SEASON OF MERCY AND RECONCILIATION
    Many hours scheduled this Advent for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  This week’s bulletin insert lists all the days and times for Confession. 
    As we begin the Holy Year of Mercy, this Sacrament of mercy and forgiveness is always a true blessing for our parish and for all members who participate in this sacrament given us by the Lord Jesus. 
    No matter how long it’s been since you’ve celebrated this sacrament, be sure to come in these weeks and be renewed in grace and holiness by Jesus and the Holy Spirit!  You’ll rejoice that you did!

CHRISTMAS CARDS ARE AVAILABLE NOW FROM OUR RESPECT LIFE COMMITTEE
    Once again this year, beautiful and inspiring Christmas cards are available from members of our Respect Life Committee.  The cards are $6 for a packet of ten cards.  Your donation will help Respect Life efforts!  Call Mrs. Mary Catherine Scanlon (412-781-6550) this week!

WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECEIVE THE PITTSBURGH CATHOLIC AT HOME?
    Our diocesan newspaper, the Pittsburgh Catholic, is delivered to many of our parish households each weekend.  It’s an excellent way to read the wider Catholic perspective that’s found throughout our Diocese  and throughout the world.  If you would like to be added to the list of weekly recipients, please contact our parish office this month.  You’ll be added to the mailing list in 2016!
  
WHERE WE ARE THIS YEAR AS A PARISH
    We have 1216 families in Saint Scholastica Parish and a total membership of 2835 individuals.  Each Sunday, we have an average of 770 adults and children participating in our Liturgies.  On average,  27% of our parish members participate in our Sunday worship.  Hopefully, we’ll grow in the coming years.  Please invite others to join us each weekend!
  
APRIL REFLECTION DAY FOR ALL WOMEN
    All women of our parish and of the Diocese are welcome to the Saturday, April 16 Day of Reflection on God’s Mercy from 8:00am—3:00pm.  This Day of Reflection will be held at the new Cardinal Wuerl North Catholic High School, and it will be sponsored by the Diocesan Council of Catholic Women.  Registration will open on January 15.  More information may be found at www.womenalivepgh.org.  Additional information will also be shared through the bulletin in the coming months.  You’ll be glad that you took part in this special day!

THINKING OF OUR PARISH’S FUTURE!
    Some members have generously included our parish in their wills.    Your inclusion of our parish in your final plans will be greatly appreciated!

Again, thanks for helping to clean up our church after (and before)  each weekend Liturgy.  We’re all very grateful for your care and your help!

Men still needed to help the needy — the Saint Vincent dePaul Society needs men to move supplies during third Thursdays in their food bank in Sharpsburg.  To help, please contact Boo Benckart here.  Thanks for serving like Jesus!

VICTIM’S  DIOCESAN  ASSISTANCE  HOTLINE
    Our Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh offers a toll-free hotline for anyone needing to report abuse.  The Victim's Assistance Hotline is 1-888-808-1235.

LITURGY SCHEDULE / PRIEST’S INTENTION

Monday, December 14 — Saint John of the Cross
   8:30 am   Ted & Charleen Goodwin (The Lynch Family)

Tuesday, December 15
   8:30 amBill Slanders   (The Slanders Family)

Wednesday, December 16
   8:30 am   Lenny Costantini (Leonard Marsico)

Thursday, December 17
   8:30 am   Paul Dacey (Mary Labriola)

Friday, December 18
   8:30 am   Nancy Russell (Mary Labriola)

Saturday, December 19
   9:00 am   Angelina Cotilletta (The McGivney Family)

   5:00 pm   Thomas D. Maher (Mary Ellen & Jack Maher)
      Presider: Father James Torquato

Sunday, December 20 — Fourth Sunday of Advent
   7:30 am   All Saint Scholastica Parish Members
      Presider: Father Sean Hogan, CSSp
  
   9:00 am   Patrick Fitzgerald (Children)
      Presider: Father James Torquato

   11:00 am   John McQuade  (Matt Hussey)
      Presider: Father James Torquato

Readings for the Week of December 13, 2015

Sunday: Zephaniah 3:14-18a/Isaiah 12:2-6/Philippians 4:4-7/Luke 3:10-18

Monday: Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a/Psalm 25:4-9/Matthew 21:23-27

Tuesday: Zephaniah 3:1-2, 9-13/Psalm 34:2-3, 6-7, 17-19, 23/Matthew 21:28-32

Wednesday: Isaiah 45:6b-8, 18, 21b-25/Psalm 85:9-14/Luke 7:18b-23

Thursday: Genesis 49:2, 8-10/Psalm 72:1-4, 7-8, 17/Matthew 1:1-17

Friday: Jeremiah 23:5-8/Psalm 72:1-2, 12-13, 18-19/Matthew 1:18-25

Saturday: Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a/Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17/Luke 1:5-25

Next Sunday: Micah 5:1-4a/Psalm 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19/Hebrews 10:5-10/Luke 1:39-45

  
HELPING THE HOMELESS AND THE POOR
    The local group which serves our neighbors now needs these items:  canned fruit, canned red or black beans, tuna, and boxed macaroni and cheese. Donation bins are inside our church. 
     Larger donations in bags (NOT boxes) and ALL clothing donations may be brought to the SIDE DOOR of 316 3rd Street, Aspinwall, from 10am-12pm on Mondays and Fridays.  Please do NOT leave any donations outside 316 or 318 Third Street.  Thank you very much!

Our Children’s Room is available for our Sunday Liturgies.  Please ascend the stairs near the sacristy entrance (by the organ).  There are seats for all as well as tables for the young ones.  There’s also a restroom and a diaper changing station.

GOOD NEWS FROM OUR ACADEMY!

OUR CDTCA CHRISTMAS SHOW THIS WEEK
    This Thursday, December 17, at 7:00pm, our CDTCA students in Grades K-4 will present their
annual Christmas Program in the parish gymnasium.  Please join us for this special evening! 

Retail gift cards will be on sale this Sunday, December 13 after each Liturgy.  Your purchases through this program support our Catholic Academy!

CDTCA HOLIDAY GENEROSITY
    Many thanks to our Academy students and the Student Council for their donation of turkeys that were shared with families in need for the holidays!  Funds were raised in the school as CDTCA students took part in ‘Penny Wars’ and donated money from the recent school dance!

CDTCA LOTTERY CALENDARS STILL AVAILABLE
    Lottery Calendars for 2016 are still available in the school office or by contacting Mrs. Lori Russell by email here.  Each calendar is $25, and the daily prizes range from $25—$275.  Your participation in the Lottery Calendar will benefit CDTCA  in 2016!
 _________________________________________________

COOKIE BAKING FOR THE FOOD PANTRY
    All women are invited to bake Christmas cookies to be shared with families served by the Sharpsburg Food Pantry.  Please bring homemade donations to the cafeteria this Sunday, Dec. 13, 8am—12 noon!

A DECEMBER WEEKEND RETREAT FOR MEN CONSIDERING A CALL TO THE PRIESTHOOD
    This December 18-20,  all men 18+ years of age are welcome to a retreat to discern a possible call to ordained priesthood.  Vocation Director Father Joseph Freedy and diocesan staff will conduct this retreat.  Find information this week at www.pghpriest.com.

BULLETIN SPONSOR OF THE WEEK
    Our thanks go to   Gentilcore Jewelers, Fox Chapel Plaza  for being a bulletin sponsor.  Please see their bulletin advertisement for contact information. 
    
Jesus is our cause for joy!
   What are the things which make you happy? In these wintry days, can you recall some of the people and blessings that make you happy on a regular basisHopefully Jesus is an important cause of your joy!  He brings us goodness and love.  Let us rejoice!
 
     Our Saint Scholastica Parish Mission is to continue the work of Christ together as a faith community, through the celebration of the Sacraments, living spiritually in the world, and working to be caring members of the community.  As committed Catholics, we are sent to bear the Light of Christ to transform the world by our devotion, service and witness.

SAINT SCHOLASTICA PARISH
309 Brilliant Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15215
Telephone 412-781-0186, ext. 10           
Fax 412-781-4316
Internet site:  www.saintscholastica.com
Parish Office hours: Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
The Most Reverend David A. Zubik, DD

The Episcopal Vicar for Diocesan Region Four
Very Reverend Philip N. Farrell, VE

Pastor of the Parish
Reverend James R. Torquato............................Ext. 10

Parish Office Staff
Debbie VanDemark, Amy Condosta, ………….....Ext.10

Director of Music/ Bereavement Coordinator
Sister Patricia Baker, CDP..................................Ext. 17

Director of Religious Education and Youth Ministry
Jamie Dillon, MS, MA, RRT................................Ext. 20 

Assistants for the Religious Education Program
Meredith Troyan, Gina Musser.........................Ext. 21

Director of Adult Religious Education and R.C.I.A.
Andrew Bechman, MEd....................................Ext. 18 

Bookkeeper/ Safe Environment Coordinator
Amy Condosta…………………………………………….…Ext. 11

Facilities Staff
Thomas Galda, Joshua Condosta

CHRIST THE DIVINE TEACHER CATHOLIC ACADEMY
205 Brilliant Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15215

Principal
Mr. Mark N. Grgurich, MSEd.................. (412)781-7927